Largescale clearing of Amazon rainforest for soy fields in Brazil. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
More companies are reporting on the impact of their operations on global forests, finds a new report.
Eighty-seven global corporations disclosed their “forest footprint” in 2011, according to the third Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD), which asks companies to report on their impact on forests based on their use of five commodities: soy, palm oil, timber and pulp, cattle, and biofuels. This is a 11 percent rise from the companies that reported in 2010, including the first reports by companies such as the Walt Disney Company, Tesco UK, and Johnson & Johnson. However a number of so-called “green” companies continue to refuse to disclose, including Patagonia, Stonyfield Farms, and Whole Foods Markets Inc.
“More and more, consumers want to know that the products they buy at the store are not doing harm to the planet,” explains Barbara Bramble, international policy advisor with the U.S. National Wildlife Federation (NWF) which is seeking responses from U.S.-based companies. “In response, companies are seeking out ways to improve their supply chain sustainability and reduce their forest footprint.”
Reporting isn’t the sole purpose of the FFD. Once a company reports, the program works with them on lessening the forest impact. Every year, the report acknowledges sector leaders (see below) who have done the most to mitigate their impact on the world’s forests.
The new report also shows who didn’t disclose. One sector in particular—oil and gas—has refused to participate. Major producers like BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Valero Energy, and Petrobas failed to analyze and disclose their forest footprint.
In all, FFD approached 357 global companies to voluntarily analyze their forest impact, but just less than a quarter of them took up the challenge. Other companies that have failed to disclose include Starbucks, McDonalds, Target, Time Warner, Cargill, APRIL, Del Monte, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Office Max, and General Mills.
“The time to act is now: there is a commercial imperative and the risks to the world’s forests are too great to wait. More companies need to wake up to the risks deforestation presents in their portfolios. Who wants to finance the destruction of life on earth, especially when it undermines wealth creation itself?” said FFD Chairman, Andrew Mitchell, in a press release.
The world’s forests provided a number of vital ecosystem services including harboring a majority of the world’s biodiversity, safeguarding important watersheds, storing carbon, harboring important (and undiscovered) medicines, influencing local and regional weather, controlling flooding and erosion, and providing homes to a number of indigenous tribes worldwide.
Sector leaders for 2011 in the FFD report include Stora Enso Oyj (Basic Materials), Nike Inc. (Clothing Accessories and Footwear), J. Sainsbury plc (Food and Drug Retaliers), Nestlé SA and Unilever (Food Products and Soft Drinks), Marks and Spencer (General Retailers), Dalhoff Larsen & Horneman (Industrials, Construction & Autos), Kimberly-Clark Co. (Personal Care and Household Goods), British Airways (Travel and Leisure), Grupo André Maggi (Farming and Fishing), Reed Elsevier (Media), Greenergy International Ltd. (Oil and Gas), and Drax Group (Utilities).
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